THE WISDOM OF JIGORŌ KANŌ


Judo is a Japanese sport first established in Japan in 1882 by Professor Jigorō Kanō. Here is some of the wisdom of the founder of Judo:

Jigorō Kanō, founder of Judo

Jigorō Kanō, founder of Judo


Jigorō Kanō’s Five Principles of Judo:

1. Carefully observe oneself and one’s situation, carefully observe others, and carefully observe one’s environment,

2. Seize the initiative in whatever you undertake,

3. Consider fully, act decisively,

4. Know when to stop,

5. Keep to the middle.


Judo is the way to the most effective use of both physical and spiritual strength.

• Judo in reality is not a mere sport or game. I regard it as a principle of life, art and science. In fact, it is a means for personal cultural attainment.

 Judo is the way of using one’s mental and physical strength in the most efficient manner.

 Through training and practicing techniques for offence and defence, one disciplines and cultivates body and spirit, and thereby masters the essence of this way. Thus the ultimate goal of Judo is to strive for personal perfection by means of this and to benefit the world.

 Before and after practicing Judo or engaging in a match, opponents bow to each other. Bowing is an expression of gratitude and respect. In effect, you are thanking your opponent for giving you the opportunity to improve your technique.

 Judo teaches us to look for the best possible course of action, whatever the individual circumstances, and helps us to understand that worry is a waste of energy.

 If there is effort, there is always accomplishment.

 There are people who are excitable by nature and allow themselves to become angry for the most trivial of reasons. Judo can help such people learn to control themselves. Through training, they quickly realize that anger is a waste of energy, that it has only negative effects on the self and others.

 In randori*, one must search out the opponent’s weaknesses and be ready to attack with all the resources at his disposal the moment the opportunity presents itself, without violating the rules of judo.

 Walk a single path, becoming neither arrogant with victory nor broken with defeat, without forgetting caution when all is quiet or becoming frightened when danger threatens.

 Another tenet of randori is to apply just the right amount of force — never too much, never too little. All of us know of people who have failed to accomplish what they set out to do because of not properly gauging the amount of effort required. At one extreme, they fall short of the mark; at the other, they do not know when to stop.

 Judo should be free as art and science from any external influences, political, national, racial, and financial or any other organized interest. And all things connected with it should be directed to its ultimate object, the Benefit of Humanity. Human sacrifice is a matter of ancient history.

 There is nothing greater under the heavens than education. The virtue of one spreads to many; real education goes on for hundreds of years.

*literally meaning “chaos taking”, “chasing chaos” or “grasping freedom” randori 乱取り is the free practice of Judo.

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